“National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” by Alina Lopez

“National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” by Alina Lopez

This past week, April 18-24, 2021, the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime celebrated their annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is dedicated to learning about victimization and the effects it has on individuals and the community, as well as recognize and honor those who establish victim rights and promote laws, policies, and programs to help victims of crime.

Yearly, thousands of Americans become victims of crime. It can be a long and difficult road to recovery and justice, but survivors do not have to face the journey alone. This is where the Office for Victims of Crime comes in to play along with other local programs in the communities. Some crime victims, especially those of violent crimes, may be eligible for victim compensation.

Who can apply for these benefits?

  • Any adult victim who has been physically injured as a result of a crime.
  • Victims of assault, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, drunk driving, or other violent crimes, as well as family members of murder victims are the primary categories of eligible victims.
  • The parent or legal guardian of a minor or incompetent adult who has been injured because of a crime committed against them.
  • The parent or legal guardian of a minor less than 16 years old who was present at the scene of a violent crime and who has suffered psychological injury.
  • The spouse, parent, sibling, or adult child of a deceased victim.
  • Any elderly or disabled adult who lost property due to a crime against them.

Each state’s eligibility requirements vary slightly, but for the most part follow guidelines that are uniform across the lines. Victims or applicants must fully cooperate with law enforcement officials, the State Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office for the respective state where the claim is being made. The victim must have suffered physical and/or psychological injury or death because of a crime committed against them. The crime must be reported in a timely manner, unless there’s good enough reason to report it later. Background checks are done on victims or applicants and they must not have directly contributed to the crime or have been engaged in criminal activity at the time of the crime. Those victims age 60 and older or disabled adults who suffered a loss of tangible property may receive a property loss compensation. Domestic violence victims may receive relocation assistance.                    Keep in mind that compensation is paid only when other financial resources (e.g., private insurance, worker’s comp, offender restitution) do not cover the loss.

Aside from monetary compensation, as mentioned earlier, there are multiple organizations and programs in every state that are available to assist victims or crime so check with your local authorities for these services.

To determine eligibility or obtain further information in Florida about crime victims’ rights and services, visit the Florida Office of the Attorney General’s Victim Services Division’s website myfloridalegal.com/victims, or call 1-800-226-6667.

For further information on the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, check out their website ovc.ojp.gov/ncvrw2021.

Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and stay safe!

Citizens’ Crime Watch 305-470-1670 www.citizenscrimewatch.org

Written by Alina Lopez

Citizen’s Crime Watch of Miami-Dade

Citizens’ Crime Watch is a nonprofit county-wide crime prevention program funded by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, grants and donations.